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7 April 2021

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Sexism in education: It shouldn't be like this!

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Jane Nellist, Coventry National Education Union

Reading the anonymous posts about young women's experiences on the new website, 'Everyone's Invited', of which there are nearly 14,000, is shocking and heart-breaking.

Mainly young women have posted their experiences of sexual attacks, including rape and sexual abuse, and widespread sexism in schools or education settings and in the wider community. Their experiences will have an impact on their future relationships and their mental health and wellbeing.

Many of the initial posts were from pupils attending private schools, but there are now also many from those in mainstream education.

Some highlight how they didn't understand what had happened to them and are only now realising the seriousness of the assault. It's damning evidence of life in Britain and the prevalent sexism in society today.

Pupils at Highgate School, an exclusive fee-paying school in London with fees of over 21,000, took direct action last week. They hung banners and placards outside their school and held a demonstration, demanding that their school leaders take action to protect them.

For the last two weeks, Warwick University students have been holding a sit-in on the central university campus, living in tents, and protesting about similar issues.

'Protect Warwick Women' has made a list of demands of the university management - they feel that three years after a horrendous 'rape chat' incident, not enough has been done to keep women safe.

Helpline not enough

As the Socialist previously highlighted (see 'Fighting sexual harassment and gender violence'), the 2017 National Education Union's survey 'It's Just Everywhere' exposed the huge issue of sexism in schools. What the personal accounts on Everyone's Invited reveal is even darker evidence.

In response to the outcry and shocking evidence, the Department for Education has commissioned a helpline, run by the NSPCC, dedicated to supporting those who report incidents. But this is far from enough. Young women want it to stop!

The education system and the services that already exist lack the funding and resources that are urgently needed. Many schools do not have adequate safeguards and procedures in place and just one in five teachers receive training for dealing with sexual harassment.

We need to challenge the root causes of this pandemic. Much more attention must be paid to children in primary schools. These ideas start to develop early on.

But schools don't exist in a vacuum. We also need to challenge the capitalist system itself and its inbuilt class and gender inequality.

We call for:

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 7 April 2021:


News

Pay NHS staff 15%!

Racism exists! Unite to fight all inequality

Report condones vigil police violence - democratic community control a necessity

Low-paid workers shouldn't pay for Covid crisis

The system is broken... youth unite and fight back

Fighting Fund: An amazing 39,948 raised


Schools

Sexism in education: It shouldn't be like this!

Pimlico Academy protests: "Run by racists for profit"

Academy schools have become business ventures


Protests

Defiance continues against anti-protest bill

London: #BuhariMustGo protests are back


Local elections

Councillors have a choice - don't vote for cuts

Former Labour parliamentary candidate to stand for TUSC


Workplace news

NEU elections: Elect a socialist leadership to fight for national action and a united campaign

GMB general secretary election: A fighting, socialist leadership needed

Sparks take deskilling protests to Hinkley Point

Marley Tiles workers strike against bullying bosses

New British Gas deadline and strike dates

Bristol Water walkout


Childcare

Childcare in crisis: A socialist solution


Liverpool

Right-wing Labour and Tory commissioners out of Liverpool!


Brixton riots

1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes


International news

Brazil: Bolsonaro regime plunges into a deeper crisis


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Sexism:

triangleWomen, violence and defiance

triangleFilm Review: Moxie

triangleJustice for victims of gender violence

triangleSocialist Party national meeting: End violence against women

triangleMeeting discussing how to end violence and abuse against women

Education:

triangleFighting sexual harassment and gender violence on campus

triangleWorkers respond to 'back to school'

triangleSocialist Students conference

triangleTeachers demand fighting union strategy

Schools:

triangleElect a socialist leadership to fight for national action and a united campaign

triangleAcademy schools have become business ventures

trianglePimlico Academy protests: "Run by racists for profit"

Women:

triangleChildcare in crisis: A socialist solution

triangleDomestic Abuse Bill: So much still to fight for

National Education Union:

triangleJohnson's 'road map' for schools: Act together to protect safety

Article dated 7 April 2021

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Sparks protest in Cardiff

Sparks' protest in Cardiff; each week the protest has grown. Sparks are protesting nationally against the role of construction electricians being deskilled. Photo by Rachel Barwell

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